A famous saying is attributed to Captain Williams, who was serving as a company commander in the 5th Marines. When advised to withdraw by a French officer at the defensive line just north of the village of Lucy-le-Bocage on June 1, 1918, he is said to have replied: "Retreat? Hell, we just got here! Captain Williams would not survive the ensuing battle, and was posthumously promoted to major and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
A member of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute class of 1907, Major Williams Hall was named in his memory in 1957. He is also considered to be the first known person from Virginia to die in the First World War.